PUTRAJAYA: Graft investigators questioning Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad over the purchase of a London hotel by Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) decided to remand him as they found him to be uncooperative..
Sources said the former Felda chairman, who was called on Tuesday to have his statement recorded, was said to have been unable to give clear or firm answers on the matter.
They said Mohd Isa responded with “I can’t remember” to most of the questions investigators put to him.
“But that is just one reason. As the probe is now at the tail end, investigators need his constant presence to identify and look at documents pertaining to the case,” a source told The Star.
Mohd Isa was arrested at 4.24pm on Tuesday after being questioned for two hours at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) headquarters here.
Investigators are looking into claims of discrepancies in the purchase of Park City Hotel in London’s upmarket Kensington area between 2013 and 2015. FIC is said to have bought the hotel for an inflated price of RM330mil when the actual value at the time was said to be RM110mil.
Mohd Isa was brought to court for his remand hearing yesterday and the MACC was granted five days to have him in custody.
Clad in MACC’s orange remand garb, the 68-year-old arrived at the Putrajaya court complex at 9.08am in a black MPV.
He was a picture of calm from the time he arrived until he was taken away after the hearing.
Mohd Isa’s hands were noticeably unfettered. Sources said he was not put in handcuffs for “health reasons”.
A sizeable crowd of friends and family members gathered from 8am in support of not only Mohd Isa but also his wife, Puan Sri Bibi Sharliza Mohd Khalid, who was seen waiting anxiously for him to arrive.
When he got out of the vehicle, she rushed towards Mohd Isa and patted him on the back.
She followed closely as MACC officers escorted her husband into the courtroom, where Registrar of Subordinate Courts Datuk Zainal Abidin Kamarudin heard an application from DPP Tengku Amir Zaki Tengku Abdul Rahman to remand Mohd Isa for seven days.
However, Mohd Isa’s lawyers argued that it was unnecessary to hold him even for one day because investigators only wanted to record his statement and get him to look at some documents.
“Our client need not be remanded for this. Mohd Isa has given an undertaking to make himself available whenever needed by the MACC. We, his lawyers, are also giving our commitment that he will be present for questioning at any time.
“Furthermore, he has been very cooperative, coming to see the MACC officers whenever he was called,” said Mohd Isa’s chief counsel Datuk K. Kumaraendran.
The other lawyers representing Mohd Isa included Dev Kumaraendran, Datuk N. Sivananthan, Datuk Khairul Anwar Rahmat, Ridha Abdah Subri and Lavinia Kumaraendran.
His lawyers also argued that Mohd Isa should not be held in custody as he was not in the best of health and has a severe heart problem.
Tengku Amir Zaki said Mohd Isa would have access to his medication, as well as medical treatment should the need arise.
Mohd Isa left the building at around noon and was taken back to the MACC lock-up as his supporters chanted “Hidup Tan Sri Isa!” (Long live Tan Sri Isa!)
In Nilai, an MACC team from Putrajaya visited Mohd Isa’s house in Nilai Springs Heights hours after his remand.
The team arrived in three cars at around 4.40pm and left two hours later.
Reporters were not allowed in as the house was located in a gated community. However, it was learnt that Mohd Isa was in one of the vehicles.
Mohd Isa’s house in Selangor was raided on Tuesday night in search of documents relevant to the probe into FIC’s purchase of two hotels in London and Kuching.
In Kota Baru, MACC Deputy Commissioner Datuk Azam Baki said the decision on whether or not to freeze Mohd Isa’s assets had yet to be made.
Azam said it was premature to draw conclusions because the probe was ongoing.
“I am not saying he (Mohd Isa) took money. Do not speculate,” he told the media after Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob and his executive councillors made the anti-corruption pledge at Kompleks Kota Darulnaim yesterday.
Azam said more than 40 statements have been recorded in the FIC case, and several more individuals would be called in.
Remand doesn’t mean guilty, says MB